My chosen magazines x and y make generally the same / contrasting assumptions about gender.
In magazine x 33% of the articles are about the home in some way, from ’99new dinner party ideas’ through ‘How to brighten up your love nest’ to ‘buying a 2nd home’. In this way this magazine promotes the ideological ideas that the home is still the most important place to women.
Other articles for example, ‘How to reinvent your man,’ and ‘Does he still love you?’ a quiz, and a pattern for a rag-doll imply that a woman is not complete without both a man and children in her life.
This magazine’s target audience is, according to its mission statement, for the ’30 something woman who wants to have it all’; although a career or even mention of a job seems to be low on this magazines list of priorities (since there is only one article about a mother’s difficulties with day care when she wants to return to work) and in fact it seems to promote the opposite idea.
The ‘voice’ of this magazine is a combination of the older sister with the parental authority as if the reader needs to have her desires and wishes approved as if she is unsure and under-confident of her own taste, abilities and decision making. With expressions like, ‘You don’t really want that to happen do you?’ and, ‘have you really thought of the consequences…?’ we see that this magazine is really preaching to its readers under the pretence of being informative, understanding and helpful.
Adverts for products like………, ………….. and ……………indicate that their reader is middle-income and middle-class with a conscience and this is another assumption which this magazine makes that it is women who are the conscience of the family and indeed of the planet – she is after all still presented as the carer, nurturer and sustainer of the family and by extension the planet – and that this should rightly be our role since we are the main consumers, buyers and therefore disposers of the majority of household rubbish. We are guilt tripped into buying certain products because they are better for the environment, more eco-friendly, dolphin-friendly, biodegrade quicker etc.
By contrast the magazine’s view of men is that they are of nominal importance. Important as the bread-winner, the enabler of this leisurely lifestyle and pleasant home environment, yet of no real significance in the woman reader’s life because she is self-sufficient; this is a delusion this magazine would like its readers to labour under and yet implicitly, through out the adverts and articles, the ‘unnecessary’ male looms large and implacably present. The target reader would not be complete without him………….